The art of listening involves so much more than my ears and someone’s voice. It involves my heart, my mind, will and emotions and it involves paying attention to the world around me as well as how my body reacts to certain things. After reading Chapter 7 in A Million Little Ways, I have realized that I am still learning to listen.
Listening To My Tears.
I’ve referred to her before, Little Girl Lost. She’s the one I carried with me most of my life, who never felt she had a voice, a purpose, a destiny, or that anyone cared deeply enough about her to want to help her succeed. But I am thankful today that she’s been found, this little girl, no longer lost. But I am still coming into my own. I am still understanding who it is I was created to be and learning to embrace that which make me come fully alive.
A few years ago, I walked by this painting which was done by a fellow artist at my church. It caused such a deep stirring in my heart, such deep emotion that all I could do was weep. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but after a while I realized I had been weeping for Little Girl Lost as the the image of the young girl on the swing hit me hard. I don’t remember my daddy or mommy pushing me on a swing. I am sure they did. They must have. But whether they did or didn’t, I realized at that moment that Little Girl Lost had been found by her Heavenly Father, and in that moment He was standing behind me pushing me on the swing. This painting brought so much healing to my heart.
In that moment, my tears were speaking, and I was coming alive to the hope of a Father in heaven who embraced me as His own, and who would run through a field of wild flowers with me, or push me on a swing. He is with me and is taking Little Girl Lost on a journey of being found.
Maybe our tears are tiny messengers, secret keepers of the most vulnerable kind, sent to deliver a most important message — Here is where your heart beats strong. Here is a hint to your design. Here is a gift from your inner life, sent to remind you of those things that make you come alive. These tears carry the gift of your desire. Listen to them. – A Million Little Ways, pg. 110-11.
I remember that day so vividly. Yet there haven’t been many days since where the tears have flowed freely. I think sometimes I put up protective walls around my heart, not allowing myself to feel any emotion, good or bad, so that I won’t have to get in touch with my feelings.
But I’ve been asking. I’ve been asking God to open the flood gates of my heart so that I can fully embrace the emotions that He’s placed inside of me. I know that He’s given me deep desires. I know that He’s given me passions. I know that He’s placed within me a burden for the broken, the imprisoned, the orphan, those who are sick. “Come, Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
Listening To My Crazy Thoughts.
I have some dreams swirling around in my head and in my heart. Things I fear to speak out loud. What if I were to fail? What if these desires are just mine, and God never intended them to be? So I keep them hidden, tucked away in the crevice of my heart. Only God knows they are there, these crazy thoughts and ideas which may die with me should I not get the courage to step out.
Over the years, that dream may have taken on different names in your mind: Silly. Ridiculous. Hobby. Foolish. Impossible. Waste of time. You have called it names for so long that perhaps you have never actually taken the time to consider how it got there in your pocket in the first place. We throw trash away; we don’t put trash in our pockets. Your dream is there because at one time you saw its value. And so you tucked it away for safekeeping. But doubt and fear have convinced you to keep it hidden, convinced you to rename that dream Wrong. – A Million Little Ways, pg. 120.
Today, I’m asking Him to uncover the deep movement of my heart. I don’t want to be numb to the pain of this world. I don’t want to bury my own pain, my own passionate desires so deep that I am no longer moved. I want Jesus to come and overwhelm me with His love so much that I cannot contain my emotions. And then I want Him to allow the tears to flow, for in them is healing.
Today, I’m asking Him to help me to begin to pursue the crazy thoughts in my head and heart. I am asking Him to give me the faith to believe that my desires are actually His desires, and that He will give me the desires of my heart as I lean in and trust Him.